Wars are fought on for many reasons; to defend the Republic from an evil Empire, to defend freedoms and fight the Axis or even to instigate change in a society. Every war has a cost, causalities, and in this new mini series from AfterShock Comics, we get to the impacts of two different but all too real wars.
It’s 1966, Lee Atkinson is getting patched up after suffering an injury whilst attending a rally held by Doctor Martin Luther King. It seems that Lee believes in what Doctor King has to say and is a little confused about how his father, who flew fighter planes in World War 2, doesn’t seem to be on board when it comes to Civil Rights. The truth is, however, that Reggie Atkinson fought not just Germans when he flew, he was fighting prejudices of his own.
Inspired by the Tuskegee airmen, Garth Ennis takes us on a trip through two battlefronts in an effort to get to the bottom of the “father and son” puzzle. The book is an interesting read, showing that diverse characters do not need to be rehashed versions of already existing ones. Both Lee and Reggie may seem a tad clichéd at the start of the book; angry man with a tired disapproving father, but by midway you get a sense of genuine emotion as you find out Reggie worked to give his son a better life, without realising that a better education would bring its own problems and battles.
Simon Coleby brings an art style that fits the book brilliantly. Each page is full of detail which is impressive given the amount of narrative there is per panel. In addition the colors by John Kalisz are fantastic. The schemes used throughout the book help convey the various emotions in play from, sadness and self disappointment, to fear and the quiet moments of realisation.
When I started reading this book I was unsure if it would appeal to me, you wait all year for a war comic and two (both by Garth Ennis) come at practically the same time. Still, perseverance has proven to be a saving grace. This is much more than “just” a war book or “just” a piece on racism. This book features wars, both home and abroad; of society and family; and on this occasion, the impacts of surviving both your actions and the repercussions of the outcome.